With a new academic year underway at Queen’s, the campus community finds itself returning to a slightly more familiar routine than last fall, but with new processes and considerations – reminders of how the pandemic has changed how we work and live, in some ways, for the better.
It has been incredible to see alumni volunteers pivot and adapt in the spirit of remaining connected. The Queen’s Global Branch Network has created numerous opportunities for folks around the world to gather virtually through re-imagined events and initiatives – one example being the Queen’s Toronto Alumni Branch (QTAB) virtual spring Wellness Panel, an event that focused on the highlighted need for self-care during these unprecedented times, connecting alumni with wellness experts and guidance, as well as tools and resources for continued learning. We are thrilled to honour this virtual event at next year’s QUAA Awards Gala as the 2022 Initiative of the Year.
As QUAA President, one of the highlights of the past year and a half has been the presence of so many new faces and voices at virtual alumni gatherings and events. Now, more than ever, we are aware of the barriers to participation faced by a large proportion of the alumni community, including travel-related logistics and cost, physical accessibility, and beyond. With each virtual event, we find ourselves gaining a deeper understanding of what it means to be truly inclusive and how we can continue to do better going forward. Queen’s and the QUAA are committed to maintaining the inclusiveness of its events by continuing to provide virtual and hybrid participation options, even as we gradually resume in-person gatherings. Last year’s Homecoming marked the first of its kind – a large-scale virtual event meant to bring the Queen’s community together during a time of uncertainty. This year’s Homecoming was a showcase of all that we have learned and accomplished over the last 18 months, and a celebration of the new, better normal we are all creating.